Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don't

Sports Reporters caught in a Catch-22 with Johnson story

By Matthew Taylor

The big news this weekend, reported Sunday, was that the Birds could pursue Davey Johnson to replace Sam Perlozzo if the team’s struggles continue. Johnson, of course, fired back angrily, blaming – Who else? – the media.

Said Johnson: "That's why people write, because they dream up stuff and want to put pressure on people. Leave me out of these sordid little games you play."

The sordid games here are being played by the Birds front office, not by the media. It’s a case of Diamond Politics at its best.

White House reporters know well the perils of the “trial balloon.” An anonymous source in a high place leaks information in order to safely gauge public without making an on-the-record statement. If the reaction is negative, guess who falls under attack? The media, of course.

Granted, journalists aren’t supposed to deal in speculation, but for baseball reporters it's practically part of their job description: “Ability to speculate about potential trades, free agent signings, and manager firings strongly preferred.”

Writer are damned if they do, damned if they don't. Why do you suppose ESPN has a "Rumor Central" section on its website? And you have to pay extra to access that information!

In this case the writers got a raw deal. I can think of better ways to spend my Memorial Day weekend than to get belittled by a former O’s manager. Shame on the O’s front office, and shame on Davey Johnson.

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